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Cam Newton could return to practice on Monday

Chris Simms explains why he slates Cam Newton at No. 20 on his Top 40 QB Countdown, despite an inconsistent 2020 season, and Jimmy Garoppolo at No. 21, who needs a big year to put the pressure on Trey Lance.

Nine days ago, Patriots quarterback Cam Newton suffered a slight bone bruise in his finger when he banged his hand against a helmet. On Monday, he could be back on the practice field.

Mike Reiss of reports that Newton returned to practice on Friday, and that he “threw the ball around a bit.”

Coach Bill Belichick told reporters on Thursday that the injury isn’t serious.

The Patriots open their annual mandatory minicamp on Monday. The reps have obvious value for Newton, who’s trying to become more comfortable in the New England offense -- and to hold off rookie Mac Jones.

As to Jones, Reiss reports that he got only eight of 34 reps in “competitive” 7-on-7 and 11-on-11 settings. This would tend to suggest that the Patriots aren’t accelerating the development of the 15th overall pick in the draft. Which would tend to suggest that Newton will be the starter to start the season.